• Cook Islands
    © Przemyslaw Skibinski / 123RF
  • Cook Islands
    © iStockphoto.com / Simon Bradfield
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Cook Islands

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Treasure of the Pacific Ocean, belonging to New Zealand although it is independent, the Cook Island archipelago is composed of 15 islands, spread in atolls in the north and high volcanic islands in the south. Should you choose to travel to the Cook Islands, you'll have a dream stay, with always amazing views out onto the lagoon. The islands are spread over a total surface of 850,000 sq miles.

Our Editorial team's advice

Plan to bring a camera and film before leaving.
No camping: it's prohibited!
Skimpy clothing is strongly unadviseable during visits to villages. Going topless is only allowed on hotel beaches.
Do not give tips, Polynesian people would feel insulted; it is better to offer a gift.
End of July, Constitution Day celebrates in joy the independence of Cook Islands with parades, exhibitions and different traditional events; it is worth taking a look.

pros

  • +The beauty and temperature of the Southern seas (23 to 27°C).
  • +The lack of big hotels.
  • +Water activities in the lagoons: undersea diving, fishing, swimming, sailing...

cons

  • -The islands are pretty but you will have to share them! The sheer amount of tourists has led to the spoiling of the fellow feelings of inhabitants towards travellers.
  • -Flights between the different islands are not great for those with tight budgets.

Food

Local food is mostly made of coconut and fish. Among the most popular dishes, you will find the ika mata (fish marinated with lemon and coconut), the anga kuru akaki ia (stuffed breadfruit) and the poke (exotic fruit pudding with cococut milk).

Souvenirs

There is a wide range of choice concerning local handiwork with sculptures, woven baskets in coconut fibre, pandanus bags, ceramics, embroidery tivaevaes and ukeleles on offer. You can also bring back the renowned black pearls. Collectors will think about stamps and coins from the Cook Islands. Generally speaking, shops are open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Saturday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Do not try to bargain.

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